Ah, summertime. Every year, I promise myself I will spend my summer finally getting back into reading, and every summer, something else gets in the way and I only end up reading 5 or 6 books. I’ve finally accepted that my reading time is limited, which means I don’t want to waste any time on a 500-page book that ends up being a total dud. I know a lot of other people are in the same predicament, so I created this handy guide for the 5 best books to read this summer.
1. Best Fiction Summer Read: Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
This is an oldie but a goodie. Good Omens is a story about the apocalypse written by two of the best fantasy/speculative fiction writers of our time. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but it takes place in modern times and features a fallen angel, a rejected demon, and Elvis, briefly. If you like humor, absurdism, and discussions about the frailty of good and evil, this is the book for you. I recommend it for summertime because it’s intellectually stimulating while still being hilarious and surprisingly lighthearted.
2. Best Classic Summer Read: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Published in 1943, this classic is the ideal summer read. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is one of those books where the plot is the least interesting thing about it, yet you simply can’t put it down. It’s a portrait of an achingly human family at the turn of the century. In particular, we follow Francie as she grows from a quiet, naïve child to painfully aware young adult.
3. Best Memoir Summer Read: Yes Please by Amy Poehler
If you read any celebrity memoir in your life, let it be Yes Please by Amy Poehler. She’s witty (obviously,) but she’s also compellingly genuine and offers some of the best advice I’ve received to date. Best of all, there are some great pictures of Poehler growing up in the 80s, which is just hilarious. When I read the book the first time, (yes, this is a multiple-read kind of book) I was snorting milk out of my nose in the middle of a donut shop – it is really that funny.
4. Best Poetry Summer Read: Let’s Not Live on Earth by Sarah Blake
If you’re looking to get more creative this summer, try reading some contemporary poetry about space ships, monsters, and walking to CVS in 90-degree heat. Let’s Not Live on Earth starts as a collection of loose poems that read on their own, but it ends with a modern epic called “The Starship” about aliens who come to take any willing Earthlings who wish to come to live elsewhere. Even if you think poetry isn’t usually for you, I encourage you to give this book a chance. Blake sounds less like a pretentious poet and more like a close friend.
5. Best Self-Help Summer Read: Weird in a World That’s Not: A Career Guide forMisfits, F*ckups, and Failures by Jennifer Romolini
Want to use your summer to get ahead in work/school/etc.? Read Weird in a World That’s Not. I’m a self-help book junkie, and this is by far the most helpful, interesting, unique book in the genre that I’ve ever read. Romolini lets you know that she is definitely a misfit, f*ckup, and failure in some major ways, so you can tell her advice comes from extensive experience with being the most awkward person in the room. If you want a motivational boost in your professional life, this book can help.
Featured image via Jairph on Unsplash